Ausable Chasm is one of the popular getaway attractions in the Adirondacks region of Upstate New York. This beautiful sandstone gorge is renowned as the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks, not to be confused with the Grand Canyon of the East which is Letchworth State Park. Both are impressive; one is in the Adirondacks region and privately owned and the other one is in the Finger Lakes region and a state park. Ausable Chasm is about 3 miles west of the beautiful Lake Champlain in Vermont and about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.
The scenic Ausable Chasm is the oldest and largest natural attraction since 1870. This is a two mile long, narrow sandstone gorge, filled with gorgeous waterfalls, a beautiful Ausable river, well maintained hiking and adventurous trails, water activities, and much more. You will be amazed by the Ausable Chasm in many ways whether you choose to walk through the trails, tube down the Ausable River, raft down the Ausable rapids, or view the Chasm from the cliffs.
These photos are from our visit to Upstate New York on the labor day weekend of September, 2021 and was our first outing since the pandemic.
Quick Facts and Tips
- 5 hour drive from New York city; 2 hour drive from Montreal, Canada.
- Best time to Visit: May to October. Summer and Fall are busy seasons.
- Accommodation: There are a number of hotels near Ausable Chasm; Plattsburgh is a good choice for a stay as it is just 13 miles away. Campsites and cabins are available inside the Ausable Chasm with plenty of activities like swimming, playgrounds, shuffleboard, basketball, volleyball, and disc golf.
- Weak or no cell phone signals, highly recommend to have maps downloaded or printed.
- The land of Ausable Chasm is privately owned by the local power company. There will be an entry fee for access to the trails and other attraction tours.
- Ausable Chasm is open year round from 9am to 4pm (5pm in summer) weather permitting.
- There will be a lot of climbing and walking downhill, so wear sturdy shoes. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
- Carry a change of clothes, water shoes/sandals with a heel strap if you are planning for tubing/rafting down the Ausable river. Remember to carry a waterproof bag to avoid your belongings getting wet on the raft floor as there are no lockers near the Table Rock raft tour area.
- Admission tickets to basic trails and adventurous tours/hikes can be purchased at the Welcome Center. The Welcome Center has a nice museum about the geological and tourist history of Ausable Chasm, cafe, gift shop, and restrooms.
- Many of the sections of the trails have no safety rails, but the trails are wide enough.
- The pathway, staircases and bridges may be slippery and some sections with no study railings. Take precaution.
- There are picnic tables and a couple of port-a-potties along the trail. For safety, no strollers and no pets.
- Start early to have more elbow room on trails.
- There are shuttle buses which can be used to return to the welcome center instead of walking.
- Bring snacks and water bottles.
- For more info, check Ausable Chasm.
- There are several tour packages that offer hiking, rafting, and tubing through the gorge, via ferrata, rock climbing and rappelling. Choose a tour that best suits you.
- Best Things to Do
- Enjoy the Scenic Hiking Trails: Inner Sanctum Trail, Rainbow Falls/Elephant’s Head Vista, Rim Walk Trail, Dry Chasm Trail and the guided Ausable Chasm Riverwalk.
- Stop at the parking lot near the Gatehouse/Ausable Chasm bridge. Take a short walk on the Ausable Chasm bridge and peer down to view the beautiful Rainbow Falls.
- Get a thrilling experience by any of the tours: Ausable River Tubing,, Ausable Chasm Rafting, guided Adventure Trail, guided Rappelling and Rock Climbing, and guided Lantern Tour.